Investigate the contemporary organisational requirements in terms of data, information and knowledge, and discuss how these can be improved for better organisational performance.Introduction-The basicprinciples of organisational design include three fundamental areas: Data;Information; and Knowledge. The importance of these three segments, in relationto a business and its practice of collecting, interpreting and implementing themis very significant. Data has three sub-categories: Structured Data;Semi-Structured Data; and Unstructured Data. Information has nine key elementsthat a business must adhere to which a business must take into consideration.
Knowledgehas two separate forms, one of which is Tacit Knowledge and the other, which isExplicit Knowledge. “Data are symbols that represent the properties of objectsand events. Information consists of processed data, the processing directed atincreasing its usefulness”. (Ackoff: 1999). Knowledgeis conveyed through instructions.
All these types of organisation design helpto improve businesses effective output. For the second section of theassignment, the key focus will revolve around Amazon and how they manipulatedata to benefit their organisation; the different types of information andknowledge characteristics that they use effectively; and any improvements that shouldbe integrated into the way in which they do this. Explain the basic principles of organisational design.Data-Data could be defined as the “factsand statistics collected together for reference and analysis”.
(OxfordDictionaries | English, 2017). In relation tobusiness systems, the data that is collected is raw, which means that it doesnot have any underlining meaning and its significance is non-existent. Onlywhen the data is transformed into information and knowledge does it truly haveany meaning that is of any relevant importance. There are three different typesof data: Structured Data, Semi-Structured Data and Unstructured Data.
(Kayas, 2017)StructuredData-Structured Data is the most organised form of data, whichmakes it easier to be recognised by computers.This is because the data is defined before it is collected, which enables thecomputer systems to swiftly differentiate them into their separate categories,such as Numerical Values; Currencies; Addresses; Names; Dates and Times. The importance of Structured Data is that itwould enable an organisation toprecisely monitor and regulate the data that has been collected. This is acrucial benefit of Structured Data because it simplifies the data and so makesit much easier to comprehend.
In addition, it allows the computer systems toabruptly find the relevant data, upon the request of the user. For instance, ifthe user wanted to look at all the data that has been categorised into the’Numerical Value’ type of Structure Data, then it would locate all the relevantsources. An organisation may use Structured Data on their websitesif they have an E-commerce section. The reason for this is that the businesswould need to collect the personal data of the customer, such as their Name;Address; and bank details which would be displayed as Numerical Values.
Oncethe customer has entered in these specific details, the computer system wouldbe able to either accept or decline the order purchase and keep track of thedata for future references, such as the customer wanting to check whether theirorder has been successfully submitted or if it has been declined. Semi-Structured Data-According to Datamation, “Matthew Magne, Global ProductMarketing for Data Management at SAS, defines semi-structured data as a type of data thatcontains semantic tags, but does not conform to the structure associated withtypical relational databases”. (What is Semi-Structured Data – Datamation, 2017).
“Semi-structureddata models are meant to represent from very structured to very unstructuredinformation, and in particular, irregular data”. (Abiteboul, 2009)Due to this, Semi-Structured Datafalls into the middle of Structured Data and Semi-Structured Data. This isbecause it contains an element of both Structured and Unstructured Data. Semi-StructuredData is important because it enables things such as Emails to work properly.The reason for this is that an Email would contain elements that fit into theStructured Data category, such as the name of the recipient and the sender.
However,it would also contain images and videos, which fall into an Unstructured Datacategory. Due to this, it is important for machines to be able to recognise andunderstand Semi-Structured Data so that they can display all the contents of anEmail. UnstructuredData-Unstructured Data refers to thetype of data that does not fit into any predefined database and is usually fullof text, but it could also contain numerical values, images and videos.
Statistically, Ninety-Five Percent of all new data is in this form, and so itis significant. (Kayas,2017)Unstructured Data is crucialbecause it enables individuals and organisations to produce different types ofdocuments and content, which could be used to positively affect a business andthe way in which it operates, or communicates with its customers. For example,a company such as Instagram would benefit greatly from this type of data thatis collected, because there are millions of images posted on the platform on anhourly basis. In fact, as of September 2017, there are a recorded five hundredmillion daily active users that post and ‘like’ content on the platform. (Instagram dailyactive users 2017 | Statistic, 2017)Information-Informationrefers to the Data once it has been processed. It is given a specific contextand now has a direct meaning, rather than just existing as Raw Data. Informationshould be nine things once it is given meaning. They are: Accessible; Accurate;Complete; Economical; Relevant; Reliable; Secure; Timely; and Verifiable.
Toexpand on a few, by ‘Accessible’ it means that the information should be ableto be easily viewed by the users. ‘Complete’ refers to the informationcontaining all the crucial facts so to ensure the correct information is given.’Reliable’ means that the information that is provided is trusted by the usersand the business ensure that the information that is being put out there is ofdependable sources.
(Kayas, 2017)Knowledge-Knowledgeis defined as “Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience oreducation; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject” (knowledge | Oxford English Dictionaries, 2017). It isan impalpable asset and so does not exist in physical form. There are twodifferent types of knowledge: Tacit knowledge and Explicit Knowledge. TacitKnowledge-Tacit Knowledge is subjectively personal,relates to a specific context, and is quite difficult to communicate in aformalised manner.
An example of this is when an individual possessesmethodological expertise in a specific dexterity. This would be difficult tocommunicate to other people because they have not got the same level ofeducation in that field, whether it is something such as mechanical engineeringor even flying aircrafts. ExplicitKnowledgeExplicit Knowledge is impersonal,can be easily gathered and organised before it is transferred, and is simple toshare. (Kayas,2017). “The majority of explicitknowledge is specialised or academic data or information which is defined informal language, like manuals, mathematical expressions, copyright and patents”.(ExplicitKnowledge, Examples, 2017).
A commonexample of Explicit Knowledge is ‘how-to videos’ which evidently demonstrate ina clear and concise manner how to correctly do something, for example, settingup a new computer correctly. Identify the need for integrated information systems.Amazon isan E-commerce business that was founded by Jeff Bezos in July 1994.
It iscurrently one of the largest and most successful online retailers and is alsothe second greatest private employers in the United States, with over half amillion employees. As a business, they collect data in various ways and use thedata that is collected to benefit the organisation. Thecurrent data manipulation practices- An example of the type of data thatis collected by Amazon is User provided data such as names, email addresses andphone numbers. This would fall into the Structured Data category as it is thebasic raw data that is needed for the user to be able to sign up with the business.This is done by having a ‘sign up’ section on the official Amazon website. Amazon also collect data on thetypes of products that customers look at and what they purchase. This is doneusing internet cookies, which monitor the different pages that the user visitsand the products that they buy.
This is a very significant type of data forAmazon because it shows them which products have the most demand, and so theycan ensure that they provide these types of products. Also, the use of internetcookies means that the algorithm that is set by Amazon can recommend productsto the user, based on the types of products they have viewed in the past. Thisoften leads to the customer purchasing the recommended products, whichimmensely benefits the profit margins of Amazon. Amazon’s use of datamanipulation is intelligently advantageous, and it is evident that they exploitthe data that is collected to enhance the users experience with the business,which is emphasised by their market share value, which is continuously on therise. (ForbesWelcome, 2017)Theinformation required by the company for its operational and strategicactivities-The information that is required byAmazon for its operational activities is the customers details, such as theirbank details and address. This type of information is integral in ensuring thatAmazon can efficiently complete transactions and fulfil deliveries. Thecustomers put their trust into the organisation to keep these personal detailssecure, and the business in turn expect that the details that have beenprovided are accurate, so to avoid any problems when processing the purchaseorders. This is a crucial process so to minimise the prolongation of having totrack down orders if they have been sent to the wrong address, or having torefund purchases charged to the incorrect bank account.
Due to this, it isessential that the Information that is collected is accurate and complete. The Information that is requiredfor Amazon in terms of its strategic activities is the data that shows thespecific products that are frequently bought by the customers, and thefluctuation between the demand for certain products. This would enable Amazonto understand when they should actively promote a product, so to raise awarenessaround it due to its demand, and so they would want to converse to thecustomers that there is an offer on that product.
This would generate a lot ofsales in relation to the demand of the product, increasing the profit that isearned. Thekey knowledge characteristics required for the effective interpretation of theinformation identified above-There are various characteristicsthat Amazon would need to efficiently interpret about the information that theycollect. For instance, by taking into consideration the consumer culturepatterns and how customers spend their money, such as whether they purchasemultiple products at a time, or only buy them individually, it would provideAmazon with a basis of knowledge to determine whether they should increasebundle purchase offers, or whether they should put prices down for individualproducts. This is a key knowledge characteristic as it provides a clear insightinto which sales approach would be most effective to boost the sales achieved.
In addition, this knowledge must besecured so to avoid Amazon’s rival businesses getting a hold of their customers’spending habits. The purpose of this is so that other E-commerce retailers donot exploit the information and use it to benefit their business because thiswould have a negative effect on Amazon in terms of the sales that they achieve,and so Amazons market share too. Themain improvements that are necessary for the organisation to improve itsperformance in the future-An improvement that could be madeby Amazon so to improve its performance is that they could introduce a tactic likeTesco’s Clubcard scheme, which allows the customers to collect points on theiraccount and save them up to use on products in the future. This would encouragepeople to shop with Amazon as they would be rewarded with points that can beused to buy products for a cheaper price, or if they have enough points for theproduct, regardless of price, they could purchase it completely off theirAmazon points. Another improvement that could bemade to improve Amazon’s as a business is to ensure that their security is ofthe greatest level.
Although this did not happen to Amazon itself, in 2014,Sony got hacked and customer account details were stolen. Amazon must ensurethat they have a strong security system for their website so that they do notsuffer the same attack. This type of cyber-attack could greatly damage thecompany and immensely impact the businesses reputation, whilst diminishing customers’trust in the company. Summary-To conclude, Amazon effectivelycollect data, which they use to benefit the company.
It is very simple forusers to create an account with Amazon and set up their personal details suchas their name, address and bank details, which enables the process of purchasetransactions. This is vital information to ensure the order is delivered to thecorrect address and charged to the precise accountholder. Amazon use theinformation that is gathered efficiently to influence the organisation in termsof promotional decisions that are made, in response to the demand of thecustomers and in association with the consumer spending patterns.
This helps togenerate a greater amount of sales. Additionally, they must ensure that theykeep their customers’ records secure so to maintain their confidence. Acyber-attack could drastically impact Amazon and this loss of data could be thedownfall for a business of the magnitude as Amazon. Moreover, the introductionof a reward scheme like Tesco’s Clubcard would encourage consumers to spendtheir money through this organisation, which could help to boost the marketshare that is possessed by Amazon.